Friday, 27 May 2011

The crocus question

Last Autumn, Fall, whatever you want to call it was a difficult one. When I set out prepping my flower beds for the winter I found my price lily bulbs had been eaten by squirrels. The dratted animals had burrowed under the soil and eaten the bulbs while the foliage was still standing. I never thought that they could do that. I am not quite over the disappointment of losing my beautiful yellow lilies. Eventually I will, but not there yet.

Anyways, this is not my story of my lilies, but my crocus bulbs. I was very anxious after planting them because at least on a couple of occasions I noticed the darned squirrels going right to patch I had worked on as soon as I came inside the house. So the entire time I was planting I was looking over my shoulder. Rather sad, don't you think? Perhaps its funnier than it is sad.

Fortunately the bulbs had almost all survived the squirrels. I was thrilled to see the first of them come out. But here's what I can't find an answer to - while all the bulbs bloomed purple, just a few turned out striped and only on the one bed. It was not a mix of the striped and purple ones all over the garden. How does that happen? Does the colour of the bloom depend on soil pH, amount of sunlight, or the other bulbs in the same bed?

I have been wondering about this because the gladioli bulbs I put in one year expecting a mix of vibrant colours all turned out yellow. I learned, thankfully before I blamed the vendor, that soil pH is a huge determinant of the colour of the bloom.

It will be interesting to see how the crocuses turn out next year! 

Friday, 20 May 2011

My Summer love

I met this beauty a few years ago. She was behind a house we were inspecting to buy. I really didn't like the house, but Hubby was sold. I knew there was no convincing him otherwise.

This Tree, she drew me in the way only a few other trees have in my lifetime. She's a Pear Tree. I didn't know that at the time. She was just standing there with beautiful drooping branches; a light dusting of snow on her elegant body; she looked simply ravishing.  I figured even if I never grew to like the house I could at least look out the large windows and drift away with this tree. I also resolved to sketch her when we'd moved in (sadly it is something I have not found the time to do yet).

I have to admit she has never disappointed me. As the snow melted and the rain came, her dark branches stood out against the more feeble shrubs and trees. She stood there, majestic and filled the promise of green. But what a pleasant surprise it was when she burst into blossoms, all white with a touch of pink, so subtle you had to feel it. And when the breeze kissed her branches she would laugh her petals all over me. I was falling in love.                                                                                                            
Soon bright green leaves took the place of the blossoms. The colour of peace, serenity and warm weather that holds you in an embrace so gentle and firm. I was in love!

Yet again she surprised me with all the fruit she bore. Pears galore! Her beautiful branches were now garlands of fruit. All the pictures in the world cannot do justice to what you feel at her sight. I was not surprised that she was never without visitors.

The Oriole would stop by often for a meal or a snack.
Mrs Racoon was there with her young ones.
The squirrels are almost always there.
And then there were the cardinals, the jays, the sparrows and chickadees and finches and blackbirds...She was never alone. The rare moments I had her all to myself were something special.

And as the warm weather began to recede and the cold Autumn winds set in her leaves turned to gold. She didn't look all that pretty with bare patches and bits of dying leave. It pained me to see her go. But she was there in spirit to remind me of warm weather to come and our secret Summer trysts.

She's back now looking like a young bride ready to walk down the aisle. So I may not spend as much time here as I will with my dear Pear Tree, my Summer love!

Monday, 16 May 2011

Pink and blue

It has been challenging to channel my thoughts into words lately. So here are a few pictures of my garden mid-Spring.

The pink tulips, the darker pink flanking the double petal ones are a total surprise. Last year I bought one of those ready made planters with the tulips just before the end of the season because they were ridiculously cheap. I decided to experiment with them. I took them out of the pot after the leaves had yellowed and stored the tulips in a shoe box over the Summer and planted them in the Fall, mixed in with a some bone meal. From what I had read the bulbs that are forced (like the ones in pots) usually don't flower the first year. Hence the surprise.

And the bleeding hearts - I prefer to refer to them by their botanical name, Dicentra spectabilis - simply because flowers should not have names as tragic as bleeding hearts. I believe flowers mend bleeding or broken hearts. Anyways, the point here is that my garden is all pink and blue thanks to the hardy perennials and bulbs that survived the squirrels.